Brad Bowser is in his eighth season at the helm of the Taylor softball program in 2018 and stands as the winningest coach in program history with a career record of 180-124 after taking the Trojans to their second-ever NAIA National Tournament appearance in team history at the end of the 2017 season. Before being named head coach, Bowser served as an assistant under former head coach Robin Lockridge.
After a 42-17 record during the 2014 campaign, Bowser guided the Trojans to the program’s first back-to-back winning seasons with a 36-16 record in 2015. Davis Carter earned NAIA Second-Team All-American honors, just the third Taylor player to do so, and was named to the All-Crossroads League. Joining Carter on the All-Crossroads League was Alex Lovelace, while Lauren Ehle was named Honorable Mention.
The squad posted a record of 39-18 in 2017, including a program-best 27-7 record in Crossroads League play and the program’s second-ever win in the NAIA National Tournament in its second-ever trip to the NAIA National Tournament, topping No. 6 Lindsey Wilson. Bowser’s 2017 senior class took the Taylor softball program to unchartered territory, as the eight-member group became the winningest class in program history with 144 wins and set numerous individual and team records, in addition to leading the Trojans to the first two NAIA National Tournament appearances in program history (2014, 2017) and notching the first two wins at the NAIA National Tournament in program history.
In 2014, Bowser and the Trojans completed the most successful season in program history with a final record of 42-17. Bowser was named Coach of the Year in the Crossroads League, while freshmen Lauren Ehle and Alex Lovelace earned Second-Team All-American recognition, the first Taylor players to ever do so.
The Trojans set season school records in team batting average, runs scored, hits, home runs, and RBI, among others. Taylor also won its first ever regular season league title, its first league tournament title since 1999, and capped it all off with a dramatic win over Georgetown in the NAIA National Tournament, the first win for the program on the national stage.
Before coming to Taylor, Bowser was the head softball coach for two seasons at LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas. His teams broke 16 school records during that span, including wins in a season, batting average, hits, runs batted in, runs scored, doubles, triples, on base percentage, slugging percentage, walks, total bases, shut-outs in a season, saves in a season and strikeouts. Four players earned All-Conference honors and eight were recognized as Academic All-Conference.
While at LeTourneau, Bowser also served as the Associate Dean of Students and Director of Residence Life.
Bowser is married to his wife, Jane, and the couple has two children.
The 2018 season is the first for Erin Kotlarz as an assistant coach for the Taylor softball program.
Kotlarz joins the program after spending the past two years teaching and coaching at Lincoln Way West High School, in addition to a head coaching stint with the Lemont Sizzlers 12U travel softball team in 2015.
Prior to coaching, Kotlarz excelled on the diamond as a player at Benedictine University for two seasons (2013, 2014) after playing at Bethel College for two seasons (2011, 2012) where she served as team captain as a sophomore in 2012.
Kotlarz made an immediate impact at Benedictine upon her arrival in 2013, earning All-Sports Newcomer of the Year and First-Team All-NACC in her first year with the team, while boasting a .408 batting average. In 2014, Kotlarz posted a .392 batting average and led the NACC with 27 stolen bases, en route to another First-Team All-NACC selection.
Kotlarz graduated from Benedictine in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education.
The 2018 season is the third for Barry Ehle as an assistant coach for the Taylor softball team.
Ehle joined the Taylor staff in 2016 after a successful five-year head-coaching stint at Woodlan High School. During his time as head coach, Ehle led Woodlan to a 105-36 overall record, three sectional titles, three regional championships, one semi-state crown and a 2011 state runner-up finish.
Ehle graduated from Franklin College in 1986 with a degree in biology and secondary education and is now in his 32nd year as a high school teacher. After teaching for 19 years at Ft. Wayne South Side, he is now in his 13th year at Woodlan where he teaches biology, anatomy and physiology.
Ehle and his wife Pam reside in New Haven, Indiana and have two children, Courtney and Lauren. Lauren is a current member of the Taylor softball team.